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Art of Biodiversity Pacific

Costa Rica

April 11 to 21, 2024

If you want to take your nature photography to the next level while shooting a wide range of subjects, this is the trip for you. From birds and wildlife to macro to landscapes, we visit some of our favorite and lesser-known spots in Costa Rica to give your whole photographic kit a workout. With two leaders, one a pro photographer and the other a photographer/ecologist, you'll come away with a stunning image portfolio, great natural history knowledge, and a ton of new photo skills!



April 11 to 21, 2024





Difficulty Level



Available Spots

Contact us to get on the wait list.

View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!

Go to sign-up form

About the Workshop

Art of Biodiversity Pacific

About the Workshop

Art of Biodiversity Pacific


Paulo Valerio

Paulo Valerio

Costa Rican born and raised, Paulo Valerio is an ecologist, tourism entrepreneur, and nature photographer. Paulo graduated as a tropical ecologist from the Biology School of the National University. During his graduate studies, he specialized in the development of sampling and research methods for high-flying bats in the rainforest canopy.

Involved with ecotourism since 1992, Paulo has worked as a naturalist guide and field instructor for several companies, has developed and directed field study programs and taught tropical ecology at various universities in Costa Rica and the US.. He is also a nature photographer and birdwatcher. Paulo recently also decided to pursue a long time interest and passion and obtained his PhD in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

You can see Paulo´s photography at his website.

Greg Basco

Greg Basco

Gregory Basco is a professional nature photographer based in Costa Rica. After completing graduate degrees in political science and tropical ecology (his doctoral dissertation focused on the politics of ecotourism in Costa Rica), Greg worked in conservation before turning to photography full-time in 2006. His images have been awarded in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competitions and have appeared in numerous magazines and books around the world.


His latest major project is the second edition of the large format printed book National Parks of Costa Rica in conjunction with Zona Tropical and Cornell University Press. His popular e-books include The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography, the mega e-book Flash for the Nature Photographer, and the new Complete Video Guide to Lightroom for the Nature Photographer.

You can see more of Greg's work at his website.

Follow him on Instagram @gregbascophotography

Follow him on Facebook @deepgreenphotography

Watch his YouTube channel @DeepGreenPhotography

Sign up now!





You should arrive to and depart from Costa Rica's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Our driver will be waiting to provide your private transfer to our capital city hotel.



Electrical outlets are US-style. Those coming from Europe or Asia may need travel adapters. We will send more info after signup.



We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance that includes trip cancellation and medical coverage while overseas.



Costa Rica does not require any vaccinations to enter the country. Please consult with your doctor regarding general travel vaccinations.


Internet Access

All of our hotels have free WIFI. We will also have cell data coverage throughout the trip.



All of our services are conducted by fully licensed travel, lodge, and transport operators. This is part of our commitment to providing a professional travel experience.

Camera Gear

Recommended gear

  • Camera body or bodies

  • Tele lens that goes out to 400 mm or more

  • Macro lens

  • Wide angle lens

  • Filters for the above lens

  • Cable release

  • A flash with TTL functionality

  • Off-camera TTL flash cord

  • Rain cover for camera

  • Small softbox or diffuser

  • Small pack or shoulder bag for daily shooting

View the full Itinerary +


Day 1, Airport/San Jose

Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet our representative at the Juan Santamaría International Airport and transfer to our hotel near the capital city of San José, where Foto Verde Tours’ Greg Basco will be waiting for you. Our hotel is surrounded by a beautiful tropical garden filled with great subjects for macro photography, including orchids, bromeliads, and passionflowers. There is free wireless Internet throughout the property.

Day 2, Central Pacific Coast


After breakfast, we enjoy an introductory presentation on flash from Greg Basco. We depart late morning and then head toward our lodge on the Central Pacific Coast. We arrive for lunch and then set in immediately to photograph macro subjects right on the grounds in order to get some great shots and practice our newly acquired flash skills. After dinner tonight, we will head out into the woods to try to photograph the awesome red-eyed tree frog!

Day 3, Central Pacific Coast


After an early breakfast this morning we have an early boat tour on the Tarcoles River where we will photograph egrets, herons, kingfishers, and crocodiles. We return to our lodge for a late breakfast and then take the rest of the morning to download pictures and do a quick image review. After lunch, we again head out in our private boat to photograph magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans, and bare-throated tiger heron in another section of the river.

Day 4, Central Pacific Coast


This morning after breakfast, we depart for a destination further down the coast that offers us some great wildlife and coastal landscape opportunities. We arrive to our hotel for lunch and then look for monkeys right on the lodge grounds. Later in the afternoon we head to a nearby beach that is a tropical paradise and will offer us a number of different compositional options for great sunset pictures! We return to our hotel later this evening for a relaxing dinner.

Day 5, South Pacific Coast


We enjoy an early breakfast this morning and then enjoy a day trip to the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park, a great place to photograph white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkeys, as well as iguanas, sloths, and crab-eating raccoon. We return to our lodge in late afternoon with time to relax and photograph monkeys at our hotel before heading out again for sunset at our favorite beach.

Day 6, Pacific Cloud Forest


After breakfast today we depart and head toward the beautiful misty highlands of the Talamanca Mountain Range. En route we stop for a coffee at a small restaruant that has good bird feeders that attract some colorful tanagers and honeycreepers and sometimes even the fiery-billed aracari. We arrive to our mountain hotel for lunch and then settle in to photograph some beautiful rushing cloud forest river landscapes just down the road.

Day 7, Pacific Cloud Forest


Today we have a special treat. We'll be spending all day photographing woodpeckers, tanagers, and hummingbirds at a new project that we helped to design with a friend of Foto Verde Tours. We'll set up special perches and flowers for our avian photo subjects and work the whole day to get some fantastic photos!

Day 8, Pacific Cloud Forest


After breakfast today we have some time to look for the fantastic Resplendent Quetzal which sometimes frequents our hotel grounds. In the late morning we check and head to our next destination, a family-run lodge even higher up in the mountains. At this location, Foto Verde Tours has a built a private hummingbird photography area. Right after lunch, we'll get to work there! This evening, we'll enjoy a presentation from Greg on the art and technique of multiple-flash hummingbird photography.

Day 9, Pacific Cloud Forest


This morning we head out with the lodge owner to look for the Resplendent Quetzal, the Holy Grail for neotropical bird photographers. The lodge owner and his family have started a project to work with local farmers in the area to monitor and protect the Quetzal, and this network exponentially raises our probability of getting a good photographic look at this beautiful species. After breakfast, we will work the rest of the day at our new private photo area. This is a new area that is a collaborative effort between the family that owns the lodge and Foto Verde Tours. We'll spend the afternoon photographing the amazing Fiery-throated Hummingbird as well as other hummingbird species such as the Green Violet-ear and Magnificent Hummingbird. In addition to getting great pictures, you will learn how to do multiple-flash hummingbird photography using Foto Verde Tours co-founder Greg Basco's renowned technique for capturing natural looking images. 

Day 10, Pacific Cloud Forest and back to San Jose


Before breakast this morning we have time for our last chance at the Resplendent Quetzal. After breakfast, we check out and head back toward San Jose, stopping for lunch at a lodge that has great hummingbird feeders that give us a chance to photograph the large Violet Sabrewing. We arrive to our hotel in late afternoon and then enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant this evening.

Day 11, to Airport


Private transfer to the Juan Santamaría International Airport for your flights home.

Itinerary includes

  • Lodging as specified in DBL occupancy

  • Meals as specified

  • Transportation as specified w/private driver in spacious air-conditioned tour bus

  • Professional, full-time photo instruction from your leader(s)

  • Multiple-flash setups for hummingbird photography

  • Entrances and fees for all described activities

  • Taxes for all specified services

  • Private transfers to and from airport

Itinerary does not include

  • International airfare

  • Dinner the first night

  • Alcoholic Drinks

  • Tips

  • Non-mealtime snacks and drinks

  • Single room supplement - $532

Sign-up Form

Name *

Are you registering for one person or more?


Please provide names of additional people signing up with you, and please indicate if the additional people are photographers or not. We offer discounts for non-photographers on some trips.

Booking a tour with us is easy!


1. Register for your tour using the form at the end of each workshop page.


4. Send us your traveler info form.


2. Send us your reserve deposit.


5. We will send you your final invoice.


3. Book your international air travel.


6. We´ll send you everything you need to know before you hop on the plane!

  • + Will someone be there to meet me at the airport?
    Certainly! We take care of you from the moment you step off the plane until the moment you leave to return home. We'll send you all of the info you need to know regarding arrival in a final info message before the trip.
  • + I plan to arrive a day early. Can you help?
    Definitely, we'll be happy to make your reservations to ensure that you get to the same hotel that we have booked for the official first night of the tour. By the way, private transfers to and from the airport are always included in our tours, and you can use this transfer whether you arrive early or depart later than the official dates.
  • + What kind of clothes should I bring?
    In general, your best choices are lightweight garments that breathe and dry quickly, and you'll want a mix of long sleeves and short sleeves. A light polar-tec and a good rain jacket are also good to have. For meals, it's informal at the lodges and in the region in general. A pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a clean shirt are just fine for dinner, even in the capital city hotels. Lightweight hiking boots are fine for your photography out in the field, and if you're visiting a beach area, you will want sandals or aqua shoes as well. Of course a good hat and sunscreen are important. We will send you clothing information specific to your trip after you've signed up.
  • + Can I have laundry done?
    Many of the lodges we use offer laundry service for a cost of approximately $1 per garment with same or next day service. We will indicate to you which lodges have laundry service after you've signed up for a given trip.
  • + Can I drink the water?
    This is probably the question that our clients ask us the most. And it’s the one for which we have the least definitive answer, except to say that beer is always a safe choice!. Water in and around capital cities is treated with chlorine and generally can be consumed with no worries. The lodges that we use for our photo travel often have their own well water, which is tested regularly by the Ministry of Health. Nonetheless, upset stomachs do occur as a result of change in diet or simply bacteria different from those to which Northern stomachs are accustomed. Serious disorders such as Giardia or amoebic dysentery are virtually unheard of. Bottled water is very widely available at our hotels and lodges, and a conservative strategy would be to use it as often as possible when outside the capital. As with travel to any foreign country, immodium pills are good to have along, and some of our clients also bring along Cipro or other broad-spectrum antibiotics. Some go so far as to begin taking antibiotics before arriving in-country. For antibiotic use, we suggest you consult with your physician. That said, we have very very few problems with water and food-related issues on our tours. During the tour, we will indicate to you where and when it might be better to stick to bottled water.
  • + I'd like a single room. Can that be arranged?
    Certainly. Simply indicate your rooming preference on the workshop signup form. There may be an extra for the single room supplement. This is simply the difference due to what our hotels and lodges charge us. We do not take a commission for single room supplements.
  • + I'm traveling by myself but would like a double room. Can that be arranged?
    It depends. If we can match you up with a suitable solo traveler who also wants to share, we will be happy to place you in a double room.
  • Should I bring a tripod?
    Yes, you always want to bring a tripod. We will advise your each trip of any need for specialized heads or flash brackets.
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